You are browsing the archive for 2015 March 25.

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Ex-Im Bank Taxes Mississippi’s Manufacturers

March 25, 2015 in Economics

By Daniel J. Ikenson

Daniel J. Ikenson

If you count yourself among the majority of Americans fed up with the unsavory, business-as-usual, back-room dealing that continues to define Washington, take heart in the fact the charter of the scandal-prone U.S. Export-Import Bank is set to expire on June 30. If you are among the misinformed or privileged few who support the bank’s reauthorization, how do you justify the collateral damage Ex-Im inflicts on companies in Mississippi and across the country?

Ex-Im is a government-run export credit agency, which provides below market-rate financing and loan guarantees to facilitate sales between U.S. companies and foreign customers. In 2013 roughly 75 percent of Ex-Im’s subsidies were granted for the benefit of just 10 large companies — including Boeing, Bechtel and GE — that could easily have financed those transactions without taxpayer assistance.

It’s time for Mississippi’s business victims to speak up.”

Supporters characterize the bank as a pillar of the economy, undergirding U.S. export sales, which allegedly create more and higher-paying U.S. jobs. But a fatty sheath of willful ignorance has insulated the bank from the scrutiny it deserves. Like all Washington subsidy programs, Ex-Im gives to the few, but takes from the many.

When the government subsidizes your competitor’s sales but not yours, you are made worse off because your competitor can now offer lower prices or better sales terms than he otherwise could. Call these the “intra-industry” costs. Likewise, when the government subsidizes your suppliers’ sales to your competitor, you are made worse off because your competitor’s costs are artificially reduced, enabling him to charge lower prices or offer better sales terms than he could without the subsidy. Call these the “downstream” costs.

Ex-Im’s management and its Washington-savvy supporters have been running a shell game, dazzling Congress with the shiny new export sales it finances, while drawing policymakers’ attention away from the costs those activities impose on everyone else. Last year, Delta Airlines finally had enough and complained about Ex-Im loans to Air India, which were granted to enable the foreign carrier to purchase aircraft from Boeing. Delta officials demonstrated how those taxpayer subsidies, made for the benefit of Boeing’s bottom line, put Delta at a competitive disadvantage by reducing Air India’s capital costs, enabling it to lower fares and compete more effectively with Delta for international travelers. Why should taxpayer dollars be used to promote the interests of one U.S. company over another?

The problem isn’t …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Why Does Our Culture Sexualize Young Black Girls?

March 25, 2015 in Blogs

By Brittney Cooper, Salon

13-year-old baseball wunderkind Mo'ne Davis was recently called a 'slut' by a college player.


Mo’ne Davis is a Black girl wunderkind. At age 13, she has pitched a shutout at the Little League World Series, becoming the first girl ever to do so, and she has been on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Disney is now planning to do a movie about her called, “Throw Like Mo.”

I’m not ashamed to admit that I still watch the Disney Channel, and I will certainly be tuning in. But everyone isn’t as excited as I am to see a Black girl on the come up. Last week, Joey Casselberry, a sophomore baseball player from Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania, called Mo’ne a “slut” in response to the news about the movie. He was subsequently expelled from the team.

In response, Davis has forgiven him and she and her coach have asked that he be reinstated. About Casselberry, Davis released a statement, which said:

Everyone makes mistakes and everyone deserves a second chance. I know he didn’t mean it in that type of way, and I know a lot of people get tired of like seeing me on TV but just think about what you’re doing before you actually do it. I know right now he’s really hurt and I know how hard he worked just to get where he is right now.

Her level of empathy is remarkable but not particularly surprising. Black girls learn almost from the womb to empathize with others, even when those others have committed deep injustices toward us.  Perhaps it is the unparalleled level of our suffering that makes us always look with empathy upon others.

But I am troubled. It is absolutely wonderful that Davis has this kind of care and concern and a heart so huge that she can forgive a nearly adult person for insulting her. It goes without saying that she’s a better person than Casselberry.

But she should not have to be. For starters, he meant what he said. One doesn’t slip up and mistakenly call a young teen girl a slut. Second, it bothers me that …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Social Media Pushes Mississippi DA to Charge Hate Crime After Gay Man Brutally Beaten at Walmart

March 25, 2015 in Blogs

By David Edwards, Raw Story

The man's abusers called him gay slurs during the incident.


A social media campaign has urged the District Attorney in Corinth to investigate a possible hate crime after a gay man was brutally beaten at a Mississippi Walmart.

Corinth Police Chief Ralph Dance, 26, told WTVA that 23-year-old James David Scott assaulted 26-year-old Devin Norman in a Walmart parking lot at around 1 p.m. on Friday.

The confrontation occurred over a Facebook post that Dance called “apparently sexual in nature.”

According to Norman, Scott beat him because of his sexual orientation. Reports said that Scott had called him a “faggot” during the incident.

“I think that it’s a travesty that there’s an entire segment of abuse that’s just swept under the rug,” Norman explained. “Yes, his assault was aggravated but it’s entirely something else. Entirely. It was simply because of who I love.”

Sources close to Norman told WMC that he had threatened to “out” Scott with private text messages and photos that the two men had shared with each other.

But Norman insisted that he no longer had the photos.

“I was bluffing, hoping that he would back away from me because his body language was so threatening, and violence scares me,” he recalled.

Scott was charged with simple assault. Police later said that the charges would be upgraded to aggravated assault on Monday.

Norman has called on police to charge Scott with a hate crime, but officials indicated that they did not think that the evidence supported that charge.

social media campaign launched on Sunday asked people to contact District Attorney Trent Kelly to urge him to pursue hate crime charges. And a petition on the White House website asked the president to “force” the DA to classify the attack as a hate crime.

“This story is heartbreaking in its absolute stupidity, and because I know there are echos of my own past in it,” one Reddit user noted. “I’ve seen this kind of hate before. I was perceived as being weird, and I often received taunts of ‘faggot,’ and “n*ggerlover,” because I had black friends and stood up against racism, and dared to care about recycling.”

IfYouOnlyNews.com pointed out that Mississippi …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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To Move Beyond Boom and Bust, We Need a New Theory of Capitalism

March 25, 2015 in Blogs

By Paul Mason, The Guardian

Finding one is the the holy grail of economics.


This is the year that economics might, if we are lucky, turn a corner. There’s a deluge of calls for change in the way it is taught in universities. There’s a global conference at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris, where the giants of radical economics – including Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis – will get their biggest ever mainstream platform. And there’s a film where a star of Monty Python talks to a puppet of Hyman Minsky.

Terry Jones’s documentary film Boom Bust Boom hits the cinemas this month. Using puppetry and talking heads (including mine), Jones is trying to popularise the work of Minsky, a US economist who died in 1996 but whose name has become for ever associated with the Lehman Brothers crash. Terrified analysts labelled it the “Minsky moment”.

Minsky’s genius was to show that financially complex capitalism is inherently unstable. Under conditions of stability, firms, banks and households will, over time, move from a position where their income pays off their debt, to one where it can only meet the interest payments on it. Finally, as instability rises, and central banks respond by expanding the supply of money, people end up borrowing just to pay back interest. The price of shares, homes and commodities rockets. Bust becomes inevitable.

 

This logical and coherent prediction was laughed at until it came true. Mainstream economics had convinced itself that capitalism tends towards equilibrium; and that any shocks must be external. It did so by reducing economic thought to the construction of abstract models, which perfectly describe the system 95% of the time, but break down during critical events.

In the aftermath of the crisis – which threatens some countries with a phase of stagnation lasting decades – Minsky’s insight has been acknowledged. But his supporters face a problem. The mainstream has a model; the radicals do not. The mainstream theory is “good enough” to run a business, a finance ministry or a central bank – as long as you are prepared, …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Sen. Rand Paul Joins Sean Hannity on Fox News- March 24, 2015

March 25, 2015 in Politics & Elections

…read more

Source: RAND PAUL

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I Was Pro-Life Until I Accidentally Got Pregnant and Wanted an Abortion

March 25, 2015 in Blogs

By Anonymous, xojane

In a reaction that surprised me to my core, the first thought that went through my brain was “Get an abortion.”


When I was 22 years old, I left my boyfriend of four years. We had grown up together in rural America—went to the same parties, had the same friends, etc. The breakup was a difficult one. My friends fractured and took sides, which I should have seen coming but totally did not.

I wound up falling in love too soon and too hard with the man I would soon marry. Our feelings for each other were genuine, but we both had significant baggage and damage that we brought to the relationship and totally lacked the maturity to deal with that in constructive ways. 

We got engaged quickly and planned a wedding in a few months. In the span of a year, I had gone from living with a man-child that I assumed I loved but never wanted to marry to marrying a man who was so very different in so many ways. 

I was taken aback by how much I suddenly wanted to be married. The question of children was up in the air, but I figured that there would be plenty of time for that later.

Then I got pregnant.

A little background: I’m the oldest child and only girl in a very religious family from a very religious, conservative, and overwhelmingly white area in flyover country. The only thing I heard more frequently than classic rock or country music on the radio were conservative talk shows. 

Like most working-class small-town families, we didn’t have a lot of money, but we had a lot of Protestant-based religion and work-ethic-based pride. Jesus-infused charity was acceptable, government and welfare were not. Racist jokes were hilarious and liberals were too sensitive. People who don’t make enough money should work harder. Real America. You get the picture.

I wouldn’t be able to hide my pregnancy from my family or friends in the small community where I lived—did I really want to have to explain to everyone that yes, I was knocked up, but no, I wouldn’t be …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Witness Accounts Conflict In Police Report of Shooting of Unarmed Georgia Man

March 25, 2015 in Blogs

By Terrell Jermaine Starr, AlterNet

One witness says cops “immediately opened fire” on Nicholas Thomas.


A 25-year-old black man was shot and killed in his vehicle by Georgia police on Tuesday at around 1:30pm, WSB-TV 2 reports.

Cobb County and Smyrna police officers say they went to Goodyear Tire where Nicholas Thomas worked to serve him a warrant on a probation violation. Officers claim that when they arrived, Thomas jumped into a car and tried to get away before attempting to drive at them. Fearing for their lives, officers opened fire on Thomas, killing him.

“When you go to serve a suspect who knows that he is wanted, he is unpredictable and we have to react based on his actions. That's what we did today,” Sergeant Ed Cason with the Smyrna Police Department told WSB-TV 2.

Witnesses say that is not what happened.

Goodyear customer Brittany Eustache said that the officers were firing on Thomas while standing behind his car and that he never tried to drive toward them.

“The car was not moving when they began to shoot at him,” she said. “The car had been stopped. He hit a curb. He couldn't go any further.”

When asked by a reporter if Thomas was trying to make any aggressive moves, Eustache replied, “None, none at all. They immediately opened fire on them.”

Though the investigation into Thomas’ shooting is still underway, one local media outlet has begun its smear campaign. WXIA just posted an article outlining Thomas’ criminal past, with the headline, “Man shot dead by police had history of assaulting cops.”

The problem with this article is that it can lead readers to believe the cops were justified in killing Thomas because of his past. Moreover, there are a high number of cases in which white men have violently attacked police officers, yet in many cases were taken into custody alive.

As for the officers who shot into Thomas’ car, why would they not have first shot elsewhere on the vehicle?

“They could have shot the tires out; could have shot the radiator. Where's he gonna go?” asked Huey …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Export-Import Bank Costly to Pennsylvania Businesses

March 25, 2015 in Economics

By Daniel J. Ikenson

Daniel J. Ikenson

If you count yourself among the majority of Americans fed up with the unsavory, business-as-usual, backroom dealing that continues to define Washington, take heart in the fact that the charter of the scandal-prone U.S. Export-Import Bank is set to expire on June 30.

If you are among the misinformed or privileged few who support the bank’s reauthorization, how do you justify the collateral damage that Ex-Im inflicts on companies in Pennsylvania and across the country?

Ex-Im is a government-run export credit agency that provides below-market-rate financing and loan guarantees to facilitate sales between U.S. companies and foreign customers. In 2013, roughly 75 percent of Ex-Im’s subsidies were granted for the benefit of just 10 large companies — including Boeing, Bechtel, and General Electric — that easily could have financed those transactions without taxpayer assistance.

Supporters characterize the bank as a pillar of the economy, undergirding U.S. export sales that allegedly create more and higher-paying U.S. jobs. But a fatty sheath of willful ignorance has insulated the bank from the scrutiny it deserves. Like all Washington subsidy programs, Ex-Im gives to the few but takes from the many.

Like all Washington subsidy programs, Ex-Im gives to the few but takes from the many.”

When the government subsidizes your competitor’s sales but not yours, you are made worse off because your competitor can now offer lower prices or better sales terms than he could have otherwise. Call these the “intra-industry” costs.

Likewise, when the government subsidizes your suppliers’ sales to your competitor, you are made worse off because your competitor’s costs are artificially reduced, enabling him to charge lower prices or offer better sales terms than he could without the subsidy. Call these the “downstream” costs.

Ex-Im’s management and its Washington-savvy supporters have been running a shell game, dazzling Congress with the shiny new export sales it finances while drawing policymakers’ attention away from the costs those activities impose on everyone else.

Last year, Delta Airlines finally had enough and complained about Ex-Im loans to Air India, which were granted to enable the foreign carrier to purchase aircraft from Boeing. Delta officials demonstrated how those taxpayer subsidies, made for the benefit of Boeing’s bottom line, put Delta at a competitive disadvantage by reducing Air India’s capital costs, enabling it to lower fares and compete more effectively with Delta for international travelers. Why should taxpayer dollars be used to promote the interests of one …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Hold Politicians Accountable for Libya Debacle

March 25, 2015 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Will America ever again be at peace? Pressure is building for the United States again to intervene in Libya.

Less than three years after Libya’s civil war the country has ceased to exist. This debacle offers a clear lesson for American policymakers. But denizens of Washington seem never to learn.

Like many presidents in other conflicts, Barack Obama lied the American people into war. The administration presented the issue as one of humanitarian intervention, to save the people of Benghazi from slaughter at the hands of Libyan dictator Moammar Khadafy.

Although he was a nasty character, he had slaughtered no one when his forces reclaimed other territory. In Benghazi, he only threatened those who had taken up arms against him.

Libya’s collapse has been almost total. But so far no one has been held to account.”

In fact, the allies never believed their rhetoric. They immediately shifted their objective from civilian protection to slow-motion regime change. Thousands died in the low-tech civil war.

Still, the chief advocates of what has come to be called Hillary’s war claimed success. Alas, Libya was an artificial nation. When Khadafy died political structure vanished. The country split apart.

Libya quickly went from disappointment to catastrophe. Today multiple warring factions have divided into two broad coalitions.

“Operation Dignity” is a largely secular grouping, including Gen. Khalifa Haftar’s “Libyan National Army” and the internationally recognized government. Haftar is a man of flexible loyalties who last May launched a campaign against the Islamist militias with covert support from Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

“Libya Dawn” is a mix of Islamists, moderate to radical, and conservative merchants that now controls Tripoli. It is backed by Qatar, Sudan and Turkey, and denies that the Islamic State poses much of a threat.

The civil war has been intensifying, with combatants using heavy weapons and even air power. Last year fighting forced the closure of the U.S. embassy.

Now Libya has become an ISIS outpost. Three jihadist groups have formally claimed allegiance to the Islamic State. These forces have attacked oil installations, killed journalists, and conducted bombings. Some of these militants were responsible for the murder of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens more than two years ago.

ISIS’s slaughter of Egyptian Coptic workers triggered retaliatory airstrikes by Cairo, and then new Islamic State attacks. The national wreckage known as Libya is being pulled into the regional sectarian maelstrom.

Obviously, Khadafy’s continued rule would have been no picnic. …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Obamacare: Not as Bad as It Could Have Been, But Still Awful

March 25, 2015 in Economics

By Michael D. Tanner

Michael D. Tanner

This may well reflect simple weariness with the issue. The law remains remarkably unpopular. The latest Real Clear Politics average of polls shows 52.5 percent opposed and 42 percent in favor. But much of the public appears to have settled for resigned grumpiness. After all, the worst news — canceled policies, the botched rollout of HealthCare.gov — is mostly in the past. Other expected problems have not come to pass just yet. On the other hand, supporters can point to little evidence of success beyond a modest increase in coverage and the fact that things haven’t been as bad as they might have been.

Clearly there has been some increase in insurance coverage as a result of the ACA. If you give something away, essentially for free, some people will take you up on the offer. The most recent Gallup survey shows the uninsured rate fell from 17.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 to 12.9 percent in the same quarter of 2014. Some of that is likely due to the economic recovery. If people are able to go back to work, they can get coverage through their jobs.

The ACA did help, however. The most recent estimates suggest that roughly 11.7 million people have selected plans through the exchanges, and roughly 10 million will eventually have paid enrollment if attrition levels are similar to last year. Surveys suggest that more than half of exchange enrollees were not previously insured, but others were. These people clearly benefited from the availability of subsidized insurance. Through February, 9.25 million more people enrolled in Medicaid in expansion states compared with prior average enrollment. Since studies show that Medicaid provides few if any benefits over being uninsured, it remains an open question whether these people are really better off.

Health care is worse off, and Americans are less free.”

Still, if expanded coverage is the sole standard by which Obamacare is to be judged, there have been some gains. Of course, there are also signs that future gains will be harder to come by. States running their own exchanges had slower enrollment growth in the second year than those with federal exchanges, in part because federal states had catch-up growth after the HealthCare.gov fiasco. The slower growth could make it close to impossible to meet the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projection for 2016, when exchange enrollment would have to more …read more

Source: OP-EDS